Posted By Eric Ethington on May 20, 2010
The Food & Drug Administration is undergoing meetings right now to decide whether they should lift the ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood. Many lawmakers, including John Kerry have publicly written to the FDA calling the ban “outdated, medically and scientifically unsound deferral criteria for prospective blood donors.”
The Department of Health & Human Services has scheduled a meeting next month of the Advisory Committee on Blood Safety & Availability to discuss the issue. The committee is charged with providing recommendations to HHS on blood supply and blood products.
The meeting, which is open to the public, is set to take place at the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville, Md. Discussion is scheduled over the course of two days — from June 10 to June 11. The meetings on both days are set for 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
FDA instituted the blood donor ban in 1983 in response to the AIDS crisis. The policy prohibits any man who’s had sex with another man since 1977 — even once — from donating blood. At the time, the policy was deemed necessary because gay and bisexual have a higher rate of HIV/AIDS infection.
LGBT rights supporters have been seeking to overturn the ban on the grounds that it unfairly targets gay and bisexual men and that testing procedures for HIV/AIDS have improved significantly since 1983.